A mismatch: Quinn versus Madigan.
It's not often that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan finds himself publicly placed in the doghouse by a fellow Democrat.
But Gov. Pat Quinn took off after the all-powerful speaker last week for the unforgiveable sin of making an appearance at a fundraiser for Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.
Quinn was agog that Madigan, a highly partisan Democrat and ruthless tactician, would attend a partisan event held on Boehner's behalf.
"Frankly, I'm disappointed. I know Mike and he's been a strong Democrat as long as I've known him. He's the head of our party in Illinois, the Democratic Party. ... I don't think going to see John Boehner at some gathering at a house in Lemont supporting whatever his fund is, the John Boehner fund, sends the right message," huffed Quinn.
Perhaps further irritating Quinn was that Madigan didn't bother to show up at the Illinois State Fair for a Governor's Day event that featured President Obama.
"I was disappointed that Mike couldn't make that," Quinn said.
Madigan, of course, rarely deigns to speak to the news media. He operates on the theory that he who says the least has the most power. But Madigan spokesman Steve Brown responded to Quinn's comments with a mixture of reason and disdain.
"Pat Quinn is the governor of Illinois because of the efforts of the Democratic Party of Illinois," said Brown, referring to Madigan's status as chairman of the state Democratic Party.
Brown also said that "the big message we took from the 2010 election is that voters would like to see more cooperation among Democratic and Republican leaders." Further, he said Madigan was the guest of a Chicago-area businessman and neither contributed nor supports Boehner.
It is more than bemusing to see Madigan, the author of the new gerrymandered federal and state legislative maps, be accused of engaging in excessive familiarity with Republicans.
It is even stranger to watch Quinn, the most ineffectual of governors, chastise the most powerful legislator in Illinois, one who can make or break the Quinn agenda.
Quinn's views on the issues, of course, are always interesting. But, for his own sake, the governor should think a bit before picking a public fight with a figure as formidable as Madigan.